Top tips to become a pro gamer in South Africa

The gaming industry is one of the fastest-growing entertainment mediums around and is expected to have a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.18% in Africa between 2021 to 2026.

When you pair this growth projection with increased internet speeds on offer from South African ISPs, professional gaming may soon become a viable career option.

According to AFK Gaming, top-tier international esports star players can earn between R147,916 and R221,874 per month, whilst lower level levels can expect around R29,583.

However, on average, many pro gamers earn between R7,500 and R14,900.

The estimated salary is dependent on the game you play, the level at which you play, the gaming association you join, and the placement of your team in tournaments.

In an interview with Fin24, the general secretary of Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) Colin Webster said that SA gamers wanting to turn pro must do several things to make sure they have long-term careers.

Webster’s top tips are detailed below.

Pick your game carefully

Make sure the game you pick to play is popular internationally and well-established in the esports industry.

Examples of well-established games include CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, and StarCraft II.

There is no point in picking a new game that will be redundant within 12 months or one that is not well known, as this will limit your earning potential.

Correct equipment

eSports is a sport of nanoseconds and equipment that is outdated or subpar can be the difference between winning or losing.

If you want to be a pro gamer, then you’ll need to invest in a powerful setup that can also be easily transported.


Once you’ve picked your game, you must be prepared to put many hours into learning as much as possible about the game.

This includes setting up practice schedules so that you can put in the needed amount of time to improve your gameplay.

In CS:GO, for example, you must practice your reaction speed, weapon spray control, map knowledge, peak points, and utility usage.

You should also record and review all your competitive games and note any identifying strengths and weaknesses.

Even the recreational games you play should test the same skill set as the chosen professional game.

Enter tournaments

Enter LAN tournaments to gain experience.

While you’re likely to lose a lot at first, these tournaments are a good way to prepare mentally for big games in the future and for you to develop your big match temperament (BMT).

Webster also advised that gamers keep a logbook of all their wins and losses.

Play the long game

Many players who enter the gaming industry choose to look for opportunities that offer quick returns such as individual tournaments. Webster believes this is the wrong approach as the quick returns are often not substantial nor sustainable.

He cited the example of gamer Robert “PandaTank” Botha.

“PandaTank, instead of going to play in the Digital Gaming Championship (DGC) competition at Rage in 2011 and 2012, he went to MSSA National Team Trials.”

“By forgoing the quick-fix of the limited prize money, PandaTank was able to compete in the 3rd & 4th International Esports Federation (IESF) World Championships in South Korea where he was noticed,” said Webster.

He also added that it takes about five years of dedicated gaming to get noticed by a team that will offer you a contract that you can live on.

For inspiration, these are the top 5 highest earning South African pro gamers according to Esports Earnings.

Player’s name  Game Total earnings
Johnny “JT” Theodosiou CS:GO R1,832,460.95
Aran “Sonic” Groesbeek CS:GO R1,707,877.90
Rhys “Fadey” Armstrong CS:GO R660,035.23
Dimitri “Detrony” Hadjipaschali CS:GO R654,863.77
Ruan “Elusive” van Wyk CS:GO R585,138.84

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Top tips to become a pro gamer in South Africa

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